Sarus crane

(Grus antigone)




Facts about this animal

The Sarus crane is the tallest crane species standing at 1.5 - 1.8 m tall, with a wingspan of 2.5 m, and a weight from 7 to 8,5 kg. It is the world’s tallest flying bird. The sexes are alike, but the males are usually larger in size than the females.

The plumage of the body is grey with a bare bright red head and a pale buffy-grey crown. There is also a small pale grey ear patch on each side of the head. The chin and some parts of upper neck are covered with sparse black feathers. The eyes are pale brown to orange. The bill is long and pointed, and pale greyish in colour. The legs and toes are pinkish red.

Sarus cranes build ground nests of marsh vegetation, often in flooded paddy fields or marshes. As in most cranes, the female lays usually eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 31-34 days. The chicks leave the nest very soon and remain with parents until they fledge at an age of about three months.

Sarus cranes feed on aquatic plants such as tubers of sedges, seeds and grains. invertebrates, and, small vertebrates.

Sarus cranes may reach an age of more than 40 years.

Did you know?
that the Sarus crane is omnivorous, like all crane species, eating insects, aquatic plants and crustaceans, seeds and berries, small vertebrates like froges and reptiles, eggs and invertebrates?


Class AVES
Suborder GRUES
Name (Scientific) Grus antigone
Name (English) Sarus crane
Name (French) Grue antigone
Name (German) Saruskranich
Name (Spanish) Grulla sarus
Local names Hindi: Saras
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II



Photo Copyright by
J. M. Garg



Range Northern Australia and South/South-East Asia: Bangladesh (vagrants only), Cambodia, China (possibly extinct), India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Viet Nam. Regionally extinct in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
Habitat Grassland and wetlands.
Wild population India, Nepal and Pakistan: 8,000-10,000 ( 1996); Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam: 800-1,000 (2006); Myanmar: 500-800; Australia: <10,000 (2006).
Zoo population 131 birds, mostly of the nominate subspecies reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Sarus crane


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Koshy Koshy

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Sarus crane is a vulnerable species and keeping an insurance popultion of the rarest subspecies Grus a. sharpii would make sense. Zoos keep however primarily the nominate form for educational reasons and as an ambassador species for wetland and grassland conservation.